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And the Hits Just Keep on Coming

October 4, 2013

Research continues to illustrate how dangerous it is to expose young football players to continued blows to the head.

Studies released by researchers at the Virginia Tech-Wake Forest University School of Biomedical Engineering and Sciences reveal that “football players as young as 7 sustain hits to the head comparable in magnitude to those absorbed by high school and adult players, and most of the hits are sustained in practices, not games,” according to the New York Times.

From the Times:

In the first of the four studies, 19 boys ages 7 and 8 were found to have absorbed 3,061 hits to the head during the 2011 and 2012 seasons, with 60 percent of those hits coming in practice. The players sustained an average of 9 hits per practice and 11 in games, which are less frequent. Although none of the boys received a diagnosed concussion, they absorbed 11 hits of 80g of force, or greater, a level that represents a higher risk of concussion.

“This study demonstrated that some head impacts at this level are similar in magnitude to high-severity impacts at the high school and collegiate level,” the authors wrote.

A second study tracked three teams of players from 9 to 12 for one season. Nearly 12,000 hits were recorded, or an average of 240 per player. Again, players absorbed more hits during practice, and at higher acceleration rates than younger players. As a result, “these data suggest that rules designed to restrict player contact in practice are capable of reducing head impact exposure in youth football,” the authors wrote.

This latest research supports earlier commentary and research done on this subject:

http://www.sportsletter.org/sportsletter/2012/02/some-head-impacts-in-youth-football-can-be-severe.html

http://www.sportsletter.org/sportsletter/2011/02/concussion-concerns-bring-changes-to-youth-football-coaching.html

http://www.la84.org/pediatric-sports-medicine-expert-opposes-kids-tackle-football/

http://www.la84.org/sportsletter/sl-interview-dr-robert-cantu-speaks-out-about-concussions-in-youth-sports/


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